When Your Knees Grow Weak.

Img 1190Three months ago today I arrived back in California and had surgery on my leg. So it’s fitting that I chime in here with another WorldRider update. While a couple weeks have passed since my last post, here’s what’s going on with my healing and therapy on my once broken leg.

In short, I know I’m getting better. But the long version? It’s not going fast as I like. To be sure, I’m not one for sitting around. While I’m keeping myself busy with a few projects, organizing photos and life back here in the states, my leg is still weak. I’m still walking with a limp. And I get tired quickly.

I’ve had 5 physical therapy session since starting a couple weeks ago. Sessions focus on rebuilding my quadriceps which shrunk to practically nothing. And we’re working on the hamstring muscles, too. Both of these muscles sets are critical for walking, running and the corresponding movement of the knee. And while my knee was only “splinted” and immobile for a couple days, the muscle atrophy related to non use and trauma is significant.

In one simple exercise I put all the weight on my bad (left) leg and extend my good (right) leg in front of me barely off the ground, Suzy my therapist asks me to essentially squat, bending my knee and then returning to a standing position. I can’t do this. And it’s extremely frustrating. On Friday a substitute therapist, Trevor standing 6’2 and sporting the frame of an ex-football linebacker, stepped in and he would wrap his massive hands around me knee thus supporting it while trying to get me to squat and rise. I could do a couple moves and hold in the squat position for nearly 10 seconds while my entire leg shook like a extreme case of Parkinson’s. I could get a couple moves like this.

Trevor had me correct my walk, too. Instead of lazily limping he has me work on my stride. This puts those hamstring muscles to serious work and as a result tires me out quickly. I kinda liked my old limp, at least I could keep up when walking. But all in the effort to strengthen and correct. I’ve got to do it.

Dr. Chang and I spent some time last week. In his examination room fitted with the black light, beads and a strobe we discussed pain, therapy and my progress. While the muscles aren’t back, he and I share a concern that maybe the accident caused some damage to the ACL and/or LCL. If I did tear either of these crucial knee ligaments it would mean another trip to the operating room — a place that is not nearly as exciting or exotic as Patagonia and the Straits of Magellan.

But sometime next week I’ll visit my local imaging center and attempt to have an MRI taken of my knee. But this will be problematic. You see with the screws and rod in my leg the MRI “picture” may be distorted or worse — not clear at all. The metal in the leg will throw off the machine. The alternative is to have the screws and rod taken out of my leg and then have the lovely MRI. If this were the case that means two trips to the operating room should the MRI reveal damage and require repair. Trouble is, Dr. Chang wouldn’t want to remove the hardware until the bones are fully healed. This would mean sometime after June this year. I’m a bit concerned that process would set me back and this therapy I’m doing would be for naught.

These things weigh heavy on my mind.

Let’s just hope that I need to continue to rebuild muscle strength and my diligence in this area will pay off. Rome as they say wasn’t built in 24 hours; my leg in time will return to its former glory.

Stay tuned.

6 replies
  1. Bonnie Toth
    Bonnie Toth says:

    oh, the pain. been there, done that… and yes, it is a long way to recovery. you’re always welcome to come up to SC and drink some good wine to forget! ha!

    Reply
  2. Bonnie Toth
    Bonnie Toth says:

    oh, the pain. been there, done that… and yes, it is a long way to recovery. you’re always welcome to come up to SC and drink some good wine to forget! ha!

    Reply
  3. JamesChen
    JamesChen says:

    Allan, sorry to hear of your frustrations with your recovery. Your doing all the right stuff with physical therapy to rebuild yourself. Healing takes time but you’ll need to be fit to get back at it again on the bike, so hang in there.
    We need to do a Dim Sum brunch with Chris K. some time soon.

    Reply
  4. Warwick
    Warwick says:

    I was in Peru recently (again) and we rented Honda XR250’s for a few days. It was awesome to explore, and we rode through torrential rain, blazing sun, mountain passes over 15,000ft., and beautiful plateaus. The whole time I was thinking about how amazing your adventures must have been day after day. Stick with it and battle through all that physio until you’re back to 100%…it will pay off in the future. Before you know it, you’ll be back out there dodging potholes and village dogs! http://flickr.com/photos/formulaphoto/122312858

    Reply
  5. giersman
    giersman says:

    Hey bud!,
    Major Bummer with the added therapy… I think you need a vacation from your unexpected vacation.
    I mean come on man, suck it up and tough it out. What are you? 45-50 yrs max? Dude! You are a spring chicken in Gods eye.
    Come Eastward TOWARDS HOME. I guarantee a little added travel will help you regain your mobility rapidly untill you heal enough to have the hardware removed for the critical MRI stuff.
    I would think any good doctor would say that movement at this point of any kind will be healing weather it’s at the hand of a sadistical physical therapast or under your own steam. Regular locomotion of any kind has got to be a good thing if you can stand it.
    Remember cousin Rodger could sure use some support right now with his change of life situation. Not to mention the possibilities of imparting some of your consulting business wisdom into the Jaxxen bussines. When was your last trip HOME anyway?…
    Hang in there bra!
    E

    Reply
  6. WorldRider
    WorldRider says:

    Eric – Good points. I’m working on that. Too premature to really know what’s up with the leg and any ligament damage. I’ve got my home PT going and my weekly rituals and the PT facility. I’m looking to get some travel in and keep moving….we should talk more about Jaxxen
    Warwick – I’m jealous. Some of the finest roads and scenery were from Nazca to Cuzco. And you’re in the middle of it — again — damn!!! thanks for the good words and enjoy the Andes!
    Dr. Chen – Dim Sum and the gang is an order. I’m hacking at this PT and am determined. Feeling like an old man but soon will be skipping and jumping!
    Bonnie – Best advice yet. Good wine and good friends. Let’s get that on the agenda — soon!

    Reply

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